Civil Forum

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Civil Forum
РГМA "Грaмaдзянскi фopум"
Chairperson Hanna Ivashkеvіch
Founded 1996
Headquarters 220004, Kalvaryjskaja st. 1, 702 A Minsk, Belarus
Ideology Liberalism
Mother party Belarusian Liberal Party of Freedom and Progress (PFP)
International affiliation International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth (IFLRY)
European affiliation European Liberal Youth (LYMEC)
Website civilforum.by and civilforum.eu

Belarusian Liberal Youth Organization "Civil Forum" (Belarusian: Рэспубліканская грамадская моладзевая арганізацыя "Гpaмадзянскі форум", Russian: Республиканская молодежная организация "Гpaжданский форум") is the only Belarusian liberal youth organization and the only democratic youth organization with the legal status on national level (it was registered by the Ministry of Justice of Belarus in 1996). Civil Forum acts in order to bring closer the day when elections in Belarus are free from frauds, when liberal rights and freedoms of individuals are not repressed by the government, when citizens are free to speak and act without fear of being imprisoned by political and ideological reasons, when Belarus is the sustainable, responsible and peaceable partner in the Eastern-European region.

History and leadership[edit]

Civil Forum was created in 1996 as the youth wing of the United Civil Party of Belarus (UCP)[1] by the chairman of the Mogilev UCP branch Vladimir Novosiad. Civil Forum became independent from the UCP after UCP changed its ideology from liberal to conservative (Liberal conservatism) and refused to participate in the Parliament election (2000) despite the position of the party youth.[2]

Civil Forum participated in 2000 elections nominating its President Vladimir Novosiad at the Kupalauski constituency in Minsk. After winning of Vladimir Novosiad in the elections Civil Forum members developed and started lobbing at the Belarusian Parliament draft-laws on alternative military service, on citizens savings etc.[3]

Having its own MP provided Civil Forum with the possibilities of the organizing youth events in all regions of Belarus, sending official MP requests and other means of activities. Therefore since 2001 Civil Forum started to be the leading democratic organization in Belarus.

In 2002 part of Civil Forum members initiating creation of the first liberal party in Belarus - Party of Freedom and Progress.

Minsk city organization member Vadzim Akhremka was elected as chairman of Civil Forum and brought new team into leadership of Civil Forum in 2005.

Repressions against Chairman Vadzim Akhremka, vice-chairmen, and some members of the Central Council preceding President elections (2006) knocked out the new Civil Forum leadership from their activities in organization. That provoked the crisis in organization of late 2006 - early 2007. Central Auditing Commission of Civil Forum approved the crises overcoming plan according to which the conferences of the regional organizations were convened and the Congress was called.

The Congress assembled on November 28, 2007 was to solve the leadership issue. The member of the Central Auditing Commission Sergey Vаrаnkеvіch was elected to the position of the Civil Forum Chairman. New Central Council of Civil Forum composition was also elected.

At the Congress on November 04, 2012 Hanna Ivashkеvіch was elected to the position of the Civil Forum Chairman.

Membership[edit]

In accordance with Statutes (Art.3.1) Civil Forum membership can be granted to anyone, whose age is between 16 and 31, who lives in Belarus, shares the goals of Civil Forum, accepts its program and fulfills the requirements of the statutes. Middle-age of Civil Forum members is about 21 years old. Most of members are students who accept liberal goals and wish to force democratic processes have been just started in Belarus. Civil Forum is represented in 6 of 7 Belarusian regions: Mogilev, Gomel, Grodno, Brest, Minsk regions and Minsk city (with regional status).

Activities[edit]

Civil Forum holds seminars, conferences and trainings for its members, as well as cultural and sports events, and organizes youth camps and role plays, study circles and debates. Many events are aimed to teach young people proper election technics.[4] Also, the activity of the organization includes protection of the students’ rights. For example, on August 27, 2006 Civil Forum received a formal notice for publishing in the “Molodezhni Prospekt” (“Youth Avenue”, the organization’s newspaper) articles on the students’ bad housing conditions.[5] During the reading of the draft bill on the depriving students of some of the social guarantees, Civil Forum together with Belarusian students conducted a campaign “Help MP to Count”.[6]

Annually the organization and its regional offices carry through a range of events, devoted to the Magdeburg Law, among which are contest for the best essay among school pupils,[7] Oxford debates[8] and information distribution.[9] From the time it was founded, Civil Forum has been taking an active part in election campaigns.[10] .

campaigns Nomination signatures collected (approx.) Civil Forum members nominated Mother Party of Freedom and Progress nominees
Local elections 1998 no records 1 (in Minsk) - [11]
Parliament elections 2000 no records 1 (in Minsk) - [11]
President elections 2001 25000 - [12] -
Local elections 2003 1400 15 (2 in Minsk, 4 in Mogilev, 1 in Bobruisk, 1 in Bialynichy, 2 in Gorki[disambiguation needed], 2 in Grodno, 1 in Byhau, 1 in Pruzhany, [1 in Lida) - [11]
Parliament elections and national referendum 2004 15000 1 (in Bobruisk) 3 (1 in Minsk, 1 in Mogilev, 1 in Grodno)
President elections 2006 14000 (together with the mother party) - [13] -
Local elections 2007 8800 4 (2 in Minsk, 1 in Bobruisk, 1 in Grodno) 13 (4 in Minsk, 4 in Bobruisk, 5 in Gomel)
Parliament elections 2008 9200 1 (in Bobruisk) 6 (2 in Minsk, 2 in Mogilev and 2 initiative groups not registered)

International cooperation[edit]

In order to achieve its aims Civil Forum cooperates with international and foreign organizations on the principles of equality and mutual respect. The majority organizations Civil Forum cooperates with are based on liberal and democratic ideas. Local organizations of "Civil Forum" can participate in international cooperation sui juris only after the endorsement of the Chairman or Central Council of Civil Forum (Articles 4.20 and 4.22 of the Statutes).

After the termination of connection with conservative United Civil Party of Belarus (UCP) in 2001 and final determination of the liberal orientation in its statutory documents Civil Forum left conservative international organizations it was member in and started integration in the world and European liberal associations. Civil Forum became the full member organization of International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) (since 2003)[14] and European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) (applicant membership since 2004 and full membership since 2008).[15]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ На выборы самостоятельно Вечерний Минск N 246 (9055)
  2. ^ Информационно-аналитический бюллетень Института стран СНГ № 17 от 1.11.2000, Коалиция ежа и ужа (Портал Беларусь Сегодня, 12.11.2003)
  3. ^ «Гражданский форум» и депутатская группа «Республика» собирают подписи для внесения изменений в избирательный кодекс (Белорусская деловая газета, 21 марта 2003), «Гражданский форум» собрал 27 тысяч подписей против принудительного распределения в РБ (TUT.BY, 9 мая 2001)
  4. ^ Хто на новенькага? (Газета "Звязда", 09.08.2006)
  5. ^ Беларусь: Справаздача аб правах чалавека за 2000 год (Мінск, Беларусь. Амбасада Злучаных Штатаў Амерыкі, 26.02.2001 г., протестуют открытками (Газета "Комсомольская правда в Белоруссии", 08.06.2007
  6. ^ Зварот да студэнтаў Беларусі (Новости Беларуси, Гражданский форум, Партия свободы и прогресса, 15 мая 2007
  7. ^ "Ну, за… Магдебургское право!" – Вечерний Могилёв – Маніторынг беларускай прэсы – ngo.by, 23.01.2004
  8. ^ "Гражданский форум" победил на дебатах в Могилеве (Неофициальный блог членов Республиканской общественной молодежной организации "Гражданский форум" и ее сторонников, 24.01.09)
  9. ^ Задержанные в Могилеве активисты отпущены (Неофициальный блог членов Республиканской общественной молодежной организации "Гражданский форум" и ее сторонников, 27.01.09)
  10. ^ Аднаму — мандат, другому — аўтамат (Белорусские новости), У другім туры мясцовых выбараў у магілёўскай вобласці дэпутатамі абраны двое прадстаўнікоў дэмакратычных сіл(Выбары ў Беларусi 17.03.2003) - Civil Forum member Andrei Tsimafeyeu became a member of the Gorki district council
  11. ^ a b c PFP wasn't yet created
  12. ^ supported joint candidate from democratic opposition Vladimir Goncharik
  13. ^ supported joint candidate from democratic opposition Alexander Milinkevich
  14. ^ The list of IFLRY members. Civil Forum (Belarus)
  15. ^ LYMEC Extraordinary Congress: towards a political Europe, Гражданский форум добился членства в LYMEC